Jeanne du Barry (Maïwenn) and Johnny Depp (Louis XV) in Jeanne du Barry, which opened Cannes Photo: © Stéphanie Branchu / Why Not Productions/Courtesy Cannes Film Festival
Johnny Depp and Maiwenn Photo: Richard Mowe
The film marks a return to the big screen for Depp following three years’ absence during the hiatus of the court proceedings with his ex-wife Amber Heard. He’s far from becoming a nonentity - Dior have hired him again as the face of a fragrance and he is about to direct Al Pacino in a biopic about artist Modigliani. And he makes a reasonably stab at playing the petulant monarch with an accent that for the most part passes muster.
However the anti-Depp camp continues to stir up animosity. A friend of Heard, journalist Eve Barlow, has started a new hashtag – #CannesYouNot – criticising the decision to invite Depp to the proceedings.
Family gathering - daughter Carys, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones Photo: Richard Mowe
With a nonchalant demeanour Depp, 59, had his long dark hair tied in a pony tail and most of the time he hid behind shades while playfully playing to the gallery of photographers and fans. He was sharing the limelight with Uma Thurman, Michael Douglas, his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and daughter Carys, Helen Mirren who is to be seen youthfully on screen in a restored version of Caligula (once famously dubbed the worst film of all time) and many other luminaries.
Ruben Östlund, head of the jury, underlined the communal experience of cinema. He added to approval from the first night audience: “That’s the great selling point of the cinema — we watch things together and I’m looking forward to watching the films (with the jury) and having great, deep conversations.”
Chiara Mastroianni was the mistress of ceremonies, carrying out her duties with economical aplomb. Thurman handed over the honorary Palme d’or to Douglas, 78, who noted he was two years older than the Festival itself. “There’s only one Cannes,” he trumpeted.
Mastroianni called on her mother Catherine Deneuve (whose image is omnipresent on the Festival’s graphics) to declare the 76th edition officially open alongside Douglas. Just before that Deneuve had movingly paid tribute to Ukraine by quoting the poet Lessia Oukraïnka.
Chiara Mastroianni, Michael Douglas and Catherine Deneuve who handed over the honorary Palme d'Or Photo: Richard Mowe